Considering the unstoppable rise of Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and the myriad other digital music streaming platforms, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the traditional radio station has had its day. Certainly, Spotify and its competitors have altered music consumption habits in a way that was unthinkable a decade ago—at the time of writing, there are over 523.9 million music streaming subscribers, with the industry generating £13.9 billion in revenue in 2021 alone.
Whilst these numbers might strike fear into the hearts of radio executives, official listening figures for the UK radio industry are encouraging: in the last three months of 2021, 89% of the UK population—some 49.5 million adults—listened to an average of 20.3 hours of live radio every week. Figures are similarly reassuring for those interested in business radio advertising, with commercial radio increasing its audience share, accounting for 48% of the country’s listening audience.
If nothing else, these statistics indicate that radio remains an extremely viable medium for any company that is looking to reach out to new customers. However, for many startups and small businesses, the question of exactly how to go about developing a radio advertising campaign is elusive. From selecting a radio station and developing a strategy, to producing a radio ad and negotiating prices; the process can seem intimidating, time-consuming, and potentially risky.
This is where making an investment in a media buying agency like The Bank can prove highly worthwhile. At The Bank, our team of experts have the skills, the experience, and the expertise to assist your company in all aspects of radio advertising. From developing a strategy and outlining a budget, to ad production and the creative process—we’re on hand to broadcast your message straight into the ears of your new customers!
Get in touch today to arrange a meeting with your new dedicated account manager. In the meantime, take a look at the following guide to get an idea of what to expect when you enter the world of radio advertising.
Question: Does Radio Advertising Still Work?
In short: yes.
Despite increased competition from music and video streaming platforms, listening numbers are relatively static, with figures showing the consistent broad appeal of radio across age groups and demographics. In addition, research shows that the medium was given a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of listeners outperforming expectations.
One of the most interesting things about radio advertising is its power as a touchpoint for cross-channel marketing. With digital radio now making up a significant portion of radio consumption, the opportunity exists to grab a listener’s attention across a national scale. Leveraging this exposure across other digital channels provides significant opportunities for generating leads and creating new customers on a cross-channel basis, making radio a vital part of your business’ marketing strategy.
The Types of Radio Advert
Whilst radio can be a highly effective advertising medium, it’s important to remember that not all radio ads are created equal. It’s essential to find the type and format which suits your business, your target audience, your chosen radio station, and—crucially—your budget.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common forms of radio advertising:
Listen to any commercial station, and you’ll likely hear a straight-read radio ad. A straight read is a 15–30 second spot for which the advertiser composes a message for broadcast. Often consisting of only a single voice, a straight-read will commonly espouse the virtues of the product or service being advertised.
Straight-reads frequently feature pertinent business information—such as contact number or company website—as well as an explicit call to action.
Similar to a straight-read ad, the primary difference is that live reads are read by a radio host or DJ. These advertisements carry significant weight, particularly if the presenter is a well-known or respected personality.
Sponsorship tends to consist of a short audio clip, often played prior to the main commercial break. Whilst often commanding a larger financial commitment, they are two key benefits that make this method of radio advertising very appealing:
- Engagement: A sponsored advert is a form of branded content, aligning your business with whatever part of the show you sponsor. If the show and its presenters are well-loved, audiences will begin to associate them with your business. In addition, sponsorship advertisers are often provided with the opportunity to run competitions and giveaways, encouraging audiences to engage actively with the brand itself.
- Timing: A key benefit of sponsorship-based radio advertising is its scheduling. Most sponsored adverts are played immediately before a full commercial break, giving them the unique capacity to grab those listeners who reach for the dial as soon as they hear that first ad start.
Is it possible to read the words “I’m lovin’ it” without recalling the melody which goes with it..? Such is the power of an effective jingle!
A catchy tune has been shown to increase brand recall and brand messaging by up to 86%, and there are no advertising mediums better positioned to take advantage of this fact. Radio advertising allows you to bury your branded earworm in the ears of consumers up and down the UK—whether they thank you for it is another matter…
The Benefits of Advertising on Radio Stations
Now that we’ve examined the most common forms of radio advertising, let’s delve a little deeper into some of its main benefits:
Call to Action
Radio advertising is considered a mass media marketing channel; like TV or out-of-home media, it unceremoniously broadcasts the advertiser’s call to action to all its active audiences, the demographic makeup of whom is usually extremely varied.
For most advertisers, this means two things:
- The radio creative you choose for your marketing campaigns must work on both a local and a national level. For example, if you choose to create ads for a London-centric station like Absolute, your message must be tailored to suit digital and AM audiences nationally.
- It’s vital to utilise a global call to action—such as a national phone number or website address—so listeners across the country are given the opportunity to get in touch. This aids in ensuring that your radio advertising doesn’t focus solely on the brand; rather, it produces the valuable phone call or mouse click that will lead to a return on your investment. And remember, your call to action needs to be simple, memorable, and radio-friendly—no complicated numbers or lengthy web addresses!
Radio stations are commonly broadcasting to a captive audience; often one which is not being served by any other medium.
Think about when you listen to the radio: maybe you’re driving to work, or perhaps you listening when you get there. Maybe you’re doing the spring cleaning, or working in the garden. Whatever you’re doing, there’s a good chance the adverts you hear are catching you at a time when you have little else to distract your focus.
Compared to similar entertainment mediums—such as TV advertising—radio ads offer significantly more opportunities for you to reach your target audience, and grab their undivided attention.
Whether you realise it or not, your favourite radio station says a lot about you.
Radio is fragmented into brands that cater to specific types of listeners (rock, dance, easy-listening, etc.), and which are generally positioned to appeal directly to those audiences. In recent years, radio output has shifted more towards syndicated and shared content, taking the pressure off localised teams and allowing for radio campaigns that can be targeted more to a specific range of consumers.
As a business owner, this potentially allows you to snap a fantastic deal—one which is focused on a particular demographic and a particular perspective for that demographic, be that age- or taste-orientated. Through a radio advertising campaign, an advertiser can target any number of demographic, psychographic and geographic audiences, while creating ads and selecting time slots that are most likely to appeal to the most people.
Unlike video and TV advertising, the production of materials for radio advertising is relatively quick and simple. No need for expensive crew and equipment, all you need to create a full range of audio idents is some inexpensive studio time, voice talent, and marketing copy.
Sound files for radio ads are one of the most cost-effective and creative that advertisers can generate; something you—and your finance team—will love!
Radio advertising (and the operation of radio stations in general) has seen significant changes in the last few years.
With listeners taking advantage of music options away from the FM dial, the opportunity for radio ad producers to use their materials outside of radio has never been greater. Services like DAB, DAX from Global, Spotify and other app-based ad networks can also amplify your brand message, allowing a business to record campaign audio creative and use it beyond just radio stations to reach a much wider audience.
How Much Do Radio Adverts Cost?
For many years, radio was a sales-hungry industry, ruthless in its own desire to take your money as opposed to focusing on clients’ specific needs. Thankfully those times have changed, and the days of a radio sales team with hard-to-achieve targets have generally gone.
As such, radio advertising can be significantly more cost-effective than TV or print advertising, with many more options for modifying campaign strategy and targeting in the middle of a campaign.
Naturally, pricing and overall cost depend on a great many factors; but, to give you a general idea, for a week-long 30-second advertising spot you could expect to pay:
- £500 to broadcast on a local station
- £2,500 to broadcast on a regional station
- £10,000+ to broadcast a national station
Whilst these prices may seem high, there are plenty of ways in which your business can reduce the costs of its radio advertising. Take a look at some of the radio advertising cost variables below:
Length of Ad
When you come to create your radio advert, you will largely have the freedom to decide upon its length. Most stations will want your ad to be 15–30 seconds in duration, but if cost is an issue, you can choose to opt for the lower end of this range.
As mentioned earlier, creative materials for radio advertising are usually extremely cost-effective. If you choose a single voice actor and make efficient use of your studio time, you can create a premium business ad at a fraction of the cost of developing for, say, a video medium.
Take Your Time
A radio advertising campaign is most effective when it matches data and listening insights against specific brand objectives. Through this approach, you can create a campaign that targets particular listener demographics at the time of the day or week at which they’re most likely to be listening.
If your research indicates that your adverts need to target a broad demographic, you may find the costs associated with these sought-after spots exceed your budget. In such instances, you can reduce advertising costs with a ‘time-buy’ pricing model. By adopting this approach, you sacrifice control over exactly when your advert is played, but you do so while also reducing advertising costs.
Developing Your Radio Campaign with The Bank
Step 1: Strategy, Aims, and Budget
The first step to developing a radio advert campaign is to get a handle on the aims of your brand, the message you want to deliver, and the level of cost that is within your budget.
As a client of The Bank, your account manager will work with you to balance these factors to get an idea of:
- who your audience is, and what they are listening to;
- the times of day and days of the week at which they tend to listen;
- the predicted advertising costs, and;
- the tangible results and ROI we would expect to generate.
Step 2: Production and Negotiation
With a broad strategy in place, we will begin to look into media production. The Bank works with a trusted network of creatives, voice talent, studios, agents, and production houses across the UK; our partners have talent, dedication, and marketing-savvy, so you can rest assured your voice-over ads will be delivered on time and ready to air.
We normally start to liaise with radio stations around this point, negotiating with them on costs, timeslots, and total air time. You’ll benefit from the media buying power of a large marketing agency, meaning your ad campaign will never go over its budget.
Step 3: Performance Analysis, Optimisation, and Reporting
With your ad up and running, we’ll closely monitor the performance of your radio ads against the aims we established in Step 1.
Radio advertising works extremely well for brands who want to keep close tabs on the results of their efforts, and there are several options for tracking results; we will use these tools to track the performance of your campaign, and your account manager will provide regular feedback as to its progress.
The Bank: For All Your Media Buying and Radio Advertising Needs
Despite increased competition from online news, video channels, and audio streaming services, radio advertising remains a powerful medium for businesses looking to engage with a broad audience.
At The Bank, we have the expertise, the knowledge, and the industry know-how to get your ads on the air. We pride ourselves on offering the best service, the greatest results, and the lowest costs.
Get in touch today! We can’t wait to help!